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Red Sox's Lester will start Game 1

The SportsXchange

On the strength of a strong stretch run, left-hander Jon Lester will pitch the playoff opener for the Boston Red Sox.

Boston begins the American League Division Series on Friday at Fenway Park against the winner of Wednesday's wild-card game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Indians.

After Lester, the Red Sox rotation for the best-of-five series will be, in order, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Jake Peavy.

Lester, 29, went 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in five September starts. He struck out 32 and walked seven in 35 innings during the final month of the regular season. Over his past 10 starts, Lester was 5-2 with a 2.19 ERA, allowing two or fewer earned runs seven times.

"He'll lead the way for us," manager John Farrell said.

Lester tweeted, "Honored and excited about getting the nod for Game 1. Is it Friday yet? LETS GO!!!!!"

The Red Sox held an intrasquad scrimmage Wednesday at Fenway Park but made no announcements about the postseason roster. Among the difficult decisions will be the fate of starting pitchers Felix Doubront and Ryan Dempster.
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